November 28, 2021

Planned Parenthood disavows its founder (but not abortion)

But vows to fight racism

Planned Parenthood has a founder problem. Margaret Sanger was a racist and a eugenicist. Critics of Planned Parenthood have been needling the organisation over its founder’s dark ideas for decades. Finally, under the pressure of the anti-racist movement, PP has cracked.

In an astonishing mea culpa in the op-ed page of the New York Times, Alexis McGill Johnson, the new president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, writes that

Up until now, Planned Parenthood has failed to own the impact of our founder’s actions. We have defended Sanger as a protector of bodily autonomy and self-determination, while excusing her association with white supremacist groups and eugenics as an unfortunate “product of her time.”

From now on, says, McGill Johnson, PP will tone down its association with Sanger and commit itself to combat racism and all forms of dehumanisation. It will also work for trans and non-binary rights. This, she says, might seem like virtue signalling. But it’s not. “Achieving health equity requires fighting the systemic racism that creates barriers to sexual and reproductive health care.”

Yet, as critics of McGill Johnson’s statement immediately pointed out, PP is still proudly the largest abortion provider in the United States. And black babies are over-represented. As Alexandra DeSanctis comments in the National Review:

Nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinics are located within walking distance of neighborhoods occupied predominantly by black and Hispanic residents. Despite constituting only 13 percent of the female population, black women represent more than one-third of all abortions in the U.S. each year. Black women are five times more likely than white women to obtain an abortion, and abortions are highly concentrated among low-income women. In recent years in New York City, more black babies were aborted than were born alive.

And as far as eugenics goes, write Charles A. Donovan and Robert G. Marshall in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, PP should consider refusing to abortion babies on the basis of foetal abnormalities.

Planned Parenthood can begin to redress its past by ending its current embrace of eugenic abortion. The organization has been involved in lawsuits against legislation in Ohio and Indiana barring abortion of babies suspected of having Down syndrome … Maybe Planned Parenthood is serious about abandoning eugenics. If so, it should endorse the idea that no baby should receive a death sentence because of a difficult diagnosis. Margaret Sanger might not approve, but your fellow Americans will cheer.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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